Minister: Rev. Doug McCusker
We are delighted to welcome Rev. Doug McCusker as our full-time minister. Rev. Doug comes to us from the UU Congregation of Rockville, MD, where he served as part-time Assistant Minister. Before that, he completed his two-year ministerial internship at River Road UU Congregation in Bethesda, MD. He also has a wealth of experience as a longtime member and lay leader of Accotink UU Church in Burke, VA. His vision of ministry is one of helping others seek and express meaning, purpose, and connection to something beyond themselves.
Rev. Doug is originally from Richmond, VA, the son of a mother who immgrated to this country from Colombia and a German-Irish father from Philadelphia. While he was young, his grandmother lived in the home, teaching Rev. Doug and his siblings to speak Spanish. Rev. Doug is proud of his Latino heritage, and his multicultural upbringing informs many aspects of his ministry.
Rev. Doug graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1980 with a B.A. in Government. In 1982, he earned a postgraduate certificate in Cartography from the University of Mary Washington and began a career as a cartographer with the Dept. of Defense. Rev. Doug earned his M.S. in Systems Engineering from George Washington University in 2005.
Rev. Doug, along with his wife Marie and daughter Bree, began attending Accotink UU Church in 1999. He was an active volunteer and lay leader, and it was because of the satisfying and meaningful lay ministry work he did there that he began to feel the first stirrings of a call to ministry. As Rev. Doug neared retirement with the federal government, he answered that call, earning his M. Div. degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2014. He was ordained in March 2015. Visit his website at www.dougmccusker.com for writings and further information.
Director of Religious Education/UUth Choir Director: Chris Johns
Chris is a longtime member of the UUFF, and has been our Director of Religious Education since 2011. Her creative talents, infectious enthusiasm, and warm-hearted leadership style are tremendous assets, and she is a strong advocate for integrating our youth into many facets of congregational life. In addition to her DRE duties, she also directs the UUth Choir for children and is frequently the director and writer of our annual Holiday Pageant. A 1983 graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, when not conducting or performing, Chris can be found teaching drama and voice or writing from her home. She has taught and directed for CYT Fredericksburg (Snow White and The Little Mermaid) and the Riverside Center Dinner Theatre (Snow White and Cinderella). With three daughters, two cats, two dogs, and one husband, finding the time to perform can be challenging, but Chris continues to make her way onto the stage as often as she can, recently as a soloist for the National Anthem at a recent event in Fredericksburg featuring First Lady Michelle Obama (and yes, she did have her picture taken with the President’s wife!).
Music Director/Adult Choir/Hand Chimes: Jason J. Michael
Jason is a Virginia-based music director, composer, poet, actor, and director. He received his BA in Music Composition from Susquehanna University in 1993, his BA in Theatre from Kutztown University in 1996, his MA in Theatre from Villanova University in 2005, and most recently completed his MFA in Theatre/Pedagogy at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014.
Since 2010, Jason has been a regular guest Music Director for the Riverside Center Dinner Theatre. Credits there include Spamalot, West Side Story, Gypsy, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Les Misèrables. Prior music directing credits include Annie, Pippin, and Inherit the Wind for the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Oklahoma! for Ephrata Playhouse in the Park, and seven national tours for American Family Theatre.
Composition credits include incidental music for Cheaper by the Dozen at the Ritz Theatre Co. in Haddon Township, NJ, songs for Twelfth Night at Hunter College, and three revues, The Magic of Spring, America Sings, and Victorian Christmas in the Country, all in collaboration with Oliver Blatt for Blatt’s Dinner Theatre in Kutztown, PA. Most recently, he contributed songs to Warp Speed: A Sci-Fi Parody Musical, which had its run at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City this past August. His spiritual, All Aboard: The Ballad of Harriet Tubman, is published by Theodore Presser Co., and his book of poetry, True Haiku for You, is available on Amazon. He is married to UUFF Office Administrator Nancy, and they have one son, John Adams.
Office Administrator: Nancy Michael
Nancy manages the duties of the UUFF office with efficient organizational skills and a positive attitude, and it has been a joy to work with her.
Nancy is a Doctoral Candidate and Teaching Fellow at The Catholic University of America in the English department, where she is a medievalist. Her dissertation focuses on issues of maternity and agency in Middle English literature. She holds a BA in Psychology from Boston University, an MA in Theatre from Villanova University, and a Graduate Certificate in Medieval Studies from Catholic University. She has taught literature and composition for Catholic University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, The United States Naval Academy, and Villanova University, and has presented papers on medieval literature at a number of academic conferences.
If and when she has time, Nancy works as a freelance stage manager, costume designer, and actor, although her theatrical pursuits have been put on hold so that she can focus on her other full-time career as mother to her son John Adams. She is active in the UUFF Adult Choir and Hand Chimes ensembles. Although she is not a member of the Fellowship, she is extremely happy her family has been welcomed as a part of the UUFF community.
Accompanist: Kana Zink
Kana has been accompanying choirs and theatrical productions for over ten years. Outside of her accompaniment duties, Kana is a board-certified music therapist based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. As a piano principal, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
Through her private practice, Music Within, LLC, she utilizes music as a clinical tool with children, adolescents, and adults of all abilities to address their individual needs. She is currently based out of the Center for Family Counseling and has developed music therapy programs for Empowerhouse, MWH Regional Cancer Center, and Rappahannock Office on Youth.
Kana enjoys volunteering for organizations such as RCASA, FAHASS, and Frediericksburg All-Ages. She has recently joined UUFF’s “Girls’ Group” as a co-facilitator. She loves to connect with her community, especially youth, and has enjoyed being part of the UUFF family!
Minister Emeritus: Rev. Walter Braman
Rev. Braman has many years of experience in both settled and interim positions, and has ministered to a wide variety of congregations. In 1998, Walter served as our interim minister for two years, helping us to successfully navigate a time of transition as we began the process of calling our first settled minister. He became so enamored with the Fredericksburg area that he continued to reside here. In 2010, Walter returned to the UUFF as our part-time minister. He officially retired in 2015 and was bestowed Emeritus status at the Annual Meeting in May, 2015.